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Her Dominant SEAL (Midnight Delta #9)

By´╝ÜCaitlyn O'Leary

voice wobbled. Big brown Avery eyes looked up at him, and he was about ready to kick his ass to the moon and back.

"Oh, baby sister, you're beautiful. I've been so worried about you. You're just a might on the short side, and the idea of you being so tiny and hitchhiking is making my head want to explode. You're a gorgeous young woman." He watched as the tears started to dry up, and he relaxed. "You need to have your butt spanked for pulling such shit."

"Darn it all, you're as bad as Trenda said you were." Piper tried to wiggle out of his embrace, but he wouldn't let her. "She said that having you for a big brother made it so she was a virgin until she was twenty-three."

"Hell, Piper, I left when she was sixteen!"

"Exactly, all the boys were still scared that you would come back and beat the shit out of them if they did her wrong. She had to leave town to get the deed done." Piper poked a finger into the middle of his chest. The little digit kind of hurt.

"I hope all the males in Jasper Creek knew better than to mess with my little sisters."

Piper turned her head away. "The pixie dust eventually wore off."

This time when she pushed to get out of his arms, Drake let her down. "Piper, is there somebody I need to kill?"

"No, it isn't me. I'm still in junior high, remember?" she attempted to tease. Suddenly, he was looking into the brown eyes of the five-year-old girl that he had left. Shit, she had been such a vivacious little girl...until that night.

"Drake, don't think about it." She put her hand to his chest.

"Piper, it's the reason I'm here. It's the reason I had to leave in the first place." He took the hand that was touching his chest in both of his and stepped back. He gently pulled her arm straight. "Is your arm giving you pain?"

She looked down at the ground to avoid his gaze.


He knew the break had been bad and that they had done surgeries on it. Trenda kept him up to date on everything.

"It's fine."

He tipped her chin up so he could look into her eyes.

"Tell me."

"It hurts a little today, it's just the cold."

"That fucking bastard." Even as he said the words, he smoothed the flyaway strands of black silk back from her flushed face. "Come on, let's get you out of the cold." Drake really wanted to pick her up and cuddle her, but something told him if he did, she'd be uncomfortable, so he tucked her in close under his arm, and ushered her toward his rental car.

"Wait, I need my backpack." She tugged at his arm.

They went where she had left it, then made their way to his vehicle.

"I still can't believe you're actually here," she said as he bundled her into the passenger seat. He put her backpack in the backseat and tugged the seatbelt around her slight frame and blanket. It had a musty smell to it, but at least it had kept her warm, and for that, he would be forever grateful to the trucker.

"You better believe I'm here," he said as he closed the door. He rounded the car, still looking around the campground to see if anyone was watching them. Satisfied that they weren't being observed, he got into the driver's seat, started the car and blasted the heat.

"Thanks for all of the Christmas and birthday gifts. I really liked the Kindle you got me." He smiled as he looked at her shining face.

"Trenda told me how much you loved to read. I'm sorry we haven't had a chance to talk more." God, how he'd missed seeing his younger sisters grow up. Trenda had been great in keeping them in touch with him when they came over to her house. There were phone conversations, and later there had been SKYPE sessions. But still, to have not seen any of them in person for twelve years had been hard.

"Trenda finally told me how you were the one who made sure everyone was taken care of when they moved out of Mom's. Maddie and the twins wouldn't have been able to afford college if it weren't for the money you sent. She even explained you sent money to Mom. I never knew that. Why didn't Mom tell me?"

"She must have had her reasons. You know how proud she is." Drake knew how hard it must have been for his mom to take help from a son that she resented.

"Still, you did so much for all of us. Thank you. I've always wanted to say that to your face."

"It wasn't much." Drake felt his cheeks getting hot, and it wasn't from the heater in the car.

"Bullshit. Trenda showed us the check we got from you last December. She said it was the same amount you sent every month for the last three years. We loved being able to gift it back to you, big brother."

"You ought not of done that," his accent getting thicker. Drake had received an individual Christmas card from each of his sisters. Each of them had sent back one piece of the torn-up check as well as a piece of a picture of a truck that he wanted. Somehow his sisters had known he had wanted that new truck. Money had always been tight for him, sending half of his paycheck home to Tennessee each month. But it had been the right thing to do. When his sisters had torn up his December check and sent it back to him, he'd been blown away.

"How is Mom?" he finally asked.

"The same. She's going to be mad that you're here." She held out her hand, and he grasped it. "How'd we end up with parents like ours?"

"I don't know, Tinkerbell." Drake pulled out of the parking space. "We need to find you a place to stay."

"How about you?" she asked as he pulled onto the highway and headed back towards Jasper Creek.

"Yep, I guess I need a place too. Got any ideas?"

"There's a cheap motel near the truck stop," Piper suggested.

Drake snorted. "I don't think so. Try again."

"Eva works at a small boutique hotel near Gatlinburg that caters to honeymooners. She works the front desk and cleans the rooms. There are three other hotels close by, she could probably ask one of them to get us a deal."

"Sold." Drake fished out his phone and